Although it’s embarrassing to lose by a huge scoreline, Paul Heckingbottom has explained why suffering a devastating loss could actually improve his team.
“I remember Bournemouth and Southampton going on and performing well, so only if you learn from it that it can be a positive and a one-off fluke. We prepared for days like this and the opposite, when our best is sometimes not good enough, and that’s sometimes harder to deal with. This game won’t define our season and if we use it in the right way, it might build it. But it’s important we address it in the right way.”
From what Sheffield United had displayed before the 8-0 defeat against Newcastle, they looked more than capable of giving anybody a tough game. The only issue was the amount of late goals they were conceding after giving Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur a good game, they surrendered points losing 2-1 in all three games. United were unfortunate to not claim three points against Everton.
Subsequently, all of those positive performances will now be forgotten about because of what happened at Bramall Lane last Sunday. The Blades have two trips to the capital on the horizon, West Ham and Fulham, before an international break in the middle of October. After the break things don’t get any easier as they face Manchester United and Arsenal back-to-back.
Speaking on the shocking performance and result against Newcastle, Paul Heckingbottom expressed during the post-match interview on SUTV:
“We’re trying to speed up everything, so it’s important for the senior boys to step up. They understand what we’re trying to do. We’ve had a big change-around in the summer, so we have to use that second half to make sure that everyone who’s new, who’s trying to get into the team or is in the team but is new, understands that that’s not us and that’s now how we play. You never get a harsher lesson than dropping below your standards against a top side because that’s what can happen.
“Everyone’s been in the building long enough now to be judged to the same standards. We have been bedding people in and people still need to settle, but we still need results and we need to compete. Whilst we’ve done work for the future of the club, we still want to compete. It’s in all of us, it’s how we’re born. We don’t turn up to throw a game away. Everyone will be judged from the same standards from now on and if there are only 15 at the levels then there’ll only be 15 picked.”
Sheffield United’s concerning stats
United are averaging the lowest number of shots per game in the Premier League (8.3), with 3.3 of them registering as shots on target which ranks them 17th [FBref]. On the flip side, Sheffield United’s opponents are averaging 22 shots per game which is unsurprisingly the most in the league. Nine of those shots hit the target on average. This results in the Blades conceding the most expected goals so far (15.3 – Understat).